Dave Mustaine has lamented what he perceives to be growing political divisiveness in the United States.
Although heated political arguments have existed for hundreds of years, politics seem to be dividing Americans more and more. Consequences include marital stress, divorce, family separations and even sharp divides over national pastimes like football.
"There was a time when it didn't matter who you voted for and you didn't tell people who you voted for," the MEGADETH guitarist/vocalist told Ron Keel of the "Streets Of Rock 'N' Roll" radio show (hear audio below). "And I don't think us telling everyone who we vote for is necessary or a good idea. You can pretty much tell the kind of people that go certain ways. But I've gotta tell you, I'm 57 and I've been voting for a long time, and I've never seen it like this before, where friendships, families, jobs, careers destroyed over who you pick."
According to Dave, he and other public figures have fallen victim to so-called negative partisanship, in which people identify as being against the opposing political party, and vocalize their beliefs through anger or loathing.
"I've got this reputation that I'm a right-winger," Mustaine said. "Well, check my voting record to see that I've voted Democrat and Republican. And it's just a shame that people are trying to destroy people's careers because of a vote."
Mustaine has consistently denied that he is a Republican, telling Artisan News in a 2012 interview: "I'm an independent, not a Republican — I've never been a Republican. I've always said that. I don't belong to any party — I'm non-partisan. And for me, the sad thing is, instead of voting for the best man, I have to vote for the lesser of two evils."
Back in 2016, Mustaine refused to say if was going to vote for Donald Trump in that year's U.S. presidential election but called the billionaire real estate mogul "a very successful businessman." He also said that he wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton.
Four years earlier, Mustaine made headlines when he voiced his support for ultraconservative Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. He explained at the time that the Pennsylvania politician looked "like he could be a really cool president… kind of like a JFK kind of guy." That same year, he drew ire on social media when he suggested onstage at a concert in Singapore that President Obama was behind the mass shootings in Aurora and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
Mustaine later blamed media outlets for taking his statements out of context, explaining that he never said he officially "endorsed" Santorum. As for the Singapore concert, he claimed to have been repeating the theories of Larry Pratt, a pro-gun activist who runs the organization Gun Owners Of America.
Also in 2012, Mustaine revealed his "birther" opinions on a talk show, saying he doubted President Obama was born in the United States. He told radio host Alex Jones: "With all of the proof about his birth certificate being fake… And you see the signs in Kenya that say 'the birthplace of Barack Obama.' Hello?! C'mon, guys. How stupid are we right now?"
In October 2011, as Occupy Wall Street protests were raging across the country, Mustaine railed against what he saw as the president's inappropriate support for the populist movement, calling Obama the most divisive president we've ever had. "I've never, in my 50 years of being alive, listened to an American president try and turn one class of people against another class of people," he said. "I've never — never — heard a president say, 'Go down and join the protesters down at Wall Street,' knowing that there are Nazis down there, knowing that there are people down there who are trust-fund babies, that are super, super wealthy and they're going down there and pretending that they really care; they just wanna be part of the 'movement.'"